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NYPD Unveils Honor To Transit Officer Shot, Killed In Midtown In 1970

September 10, 2018 - 2:50 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The NYPD on Monday unveiled a plaque to honor a transit officer killed in the line of duty 48 years ago at 50th Street and Broadway.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reporter, Officer Michael Melchionna lost his life to a gunman back on Feb. 28, 1970. At that time, subway stations still had restrooms, and Melchionna spied a man smoking in one of them.

He asked the man for his ID.

"He pulled out a 22, took Mike out to a platform over here, made him lay down, took his gun, ran into the street,” said the fallen officer’s brother, Henry Melchionna. “Mike then ran after the guy in close pursuit warning a New York City cop that there was a bad guy with a gun."

Henry Melchionna, a retired transit officer himself, said his 29-year-old brother told pedestrians to get down. The gun-wielding man shot Officer Melchionna in the head and killed him.

The gunman also shot and killed a cabbie, and wounded another NPYD officer in the neck, before he himself was killed by gunfire.

“Although he was disarmed at gunpoint, Michael still gave chase after the fleeing gunman,” said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan. “That's the part that stays with me. In spite of the tremendous danger, he went anyway. It's what cops do."

The No. 1 Train station where the incident began has now been named for Transit Patrolman Michael Melchionna, who made the ultimate sacrifice on the street above it.